Showing posts with label Alan Hollinghurst. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alan Hollinghurst. Show all posts

Friday, December 25, 2015

Goodreads Year in Books | List of 10 FAVORITE READS OF 2015

Goodreads Results 


My goodness.  There’s so much I can say about the year 2015.  A uniquely challenging year?  Absolutely.  I definitely feel like this was a year filled the hurdles to leap over–in both my reading and personal life.  However, personal stuff aside, I read a little less this year than last.  Right out the gate I started the year having taken down six books in both January and February.  My reading slumped heavily in March and April, but picked up in July.  August brought a new burst of readings where I took down either five or six book (too lazy to look up).  The rest of the year was steady.
I love reading.  I love books.  I love reading what I want and falling into a story.  And I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store.
Did you reach your reading goals this year?  What were your favorite reads?  Share in the comments below!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

1st Fall Haul ~ And The Ones I Want

Books!  Books!  Books!  Let's all buy books!
I want to share my first Fall reading haul.  I still got a couple of Spring and Summer books I want to get to, but you know how it goes.  See a book.  Buy a book.  Save a book.  And when the mood strikes, notice your options and finally read the book. 
Naturally, I had to get the latest J. D. Robb futuristic crime-fiction thriller, Devoted in Death.  That’s a no-brainer.  Book number 41 has homicide lieutenant, Eve Dallas, battling a couple who cross-country drive ala Bonnie and Clyde-fashion.  Oh, did I mention they're spree killers?  The minute I close this post–and shut down watching This Is Life with Lisa Ling–I’m running back to this thriller.
Speaking of J. D. Robb, I got Nora Roberts’s Key of Knowledge.  This is book two in Roberts’s Key Trilogy.  Here’s what Goodreads has to say about it:
What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help? That's what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior's Peak. 
To librarian Dana Steele, books and the knowledge they hold are the key to contentment. But now that search for knowledge must include the second key needed to release three souls held captive by an evil god. In each generation three are chosen who have the power to release them - if they dare accept a challenge that could promise them great riches but also grave danger... 
As I mentioned in my post about the first book in the trilogy, I’ve decided to keep reading this series.  The same applies for Alan Bradley’s third book in his Flavia de Luce mystery series.  The second book was a touch disappointing, but I’m dedicated to watching eleven-year-old Flavia’s snooping unfold.  In book three, The Red Herring Without Mustard, we see Flavia…
Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse--that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce's drawing room.
Finally, so moved by The Swimming Pool Library, I grabbed a copy of Alan Hollinghurst’s latest offering, The Stranger’s Child.
Anybody else take pictures of books to remind themselves to buy them later?  You know, while browsing the bookstore?  Well, I’ve been doing some of that as well, and had to take a few shots of the books I want to get in the future.  Sometimes, you just don’t want to pay full price for a book and have to do some bargain shopping online.
As an advent fan of the Ghost Adventures TV show, I’ve kept the two hosts' (well, one is a former host) paranormal/biography releases on my list.  I absolutely love Ghost Adventures.  I have to watch the show every Friday and Saturday.  And have been dating back to its October 2008 premiere.  There’s a comforting quality to stapling this show inside my weekends.  And I would love to post more on why I love the show; flaws and all.  Nonetheless, the point is that I want to read these damn books by paranormal investigators Nick Groff and Zak Bagans.
And the last book I really want to get my hands on is this one…
That’s all, folks!  Let’s read!  And what have you hauled in to open up the Fall season?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The GAY Men in Alan's Swimming Pool

Ah.  Let me throw you a bone here, considering I found myself off the mark after reading the dust jacket of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming Pool Library.  I really want to re-premise the synopsis with my not-quite-damn-near instantaneous look at the opening stages of the book.  Though this “look” gives nothing nowhere near as complex and multi-layered as the actual material.  So don’t let my speed-running summary of the book throw you off.  But hear me now as I suggest you pick the book up whenever possible.
Anyway, a gay twenty-something British aristocrat is ready to pull a routine cruise mission inside a public lavatory.  This lavatory is popular (and populated) with men filled with a thirsty compulsion for spontaneous sexual fulfillment.  And so our young aristocrat comes in on the fold with a practiced stroll.  You see, this type of environment isn’t unique to him.  However, it's a little dispiriting seeing the array of middle-aged white men available and present.  The aristocrat longs for a different, more youthful flavor.  Lucky for him he spots an Arabian boy, and proceeds to have him to himself.
Until an eighty-something elderly Lord stumbles into the lavatory with the same mission: quick sex where possible.  Unfortunate for the Lord, his expedition results in a heart attack or stroke of sorts.  Troubled by his duty to seek sex with the Arab, the aristocratic runs to assist the elderly Lord.  And he does so successfully before the two part ways.  
Later, the two encounter one other at a local swimming hole/fitness center familiar with gay men.  A friendship forms, leading the Lord to ask the young aristocrat to scribe his biography.  The Lord fears for his remaining years, and is desperate to tell his story.  He pushes and pushes for the aristocrat to take on the assignment, until the aristocrat gives in and accepts the task.  Yet, there are deeper unforeseen intentions behind the Lord’s request.  Decades of quiet, vengeful purpose hides underneath.  Suddenly caught in a trap, the aristocrat soon arrives at two choices: honor the Lord’s request to completion or choose the respect of his family instead?

Ah.  Putting the premise into my own words helps.  But I can agree to the dust jacket’s statement of the book taking readers to “dimly lit underground bars, swimming baths, and cinemas.”  That, and so much more, it did under Hollinghurst’s beauty way with prose, character, and illustrative settings.  Fearing the book would smother me in stereotypical and dusty stories frequented in gay/LGBT literature, I arrived to its conclusion surprised it did so with me savoring each motion in its journey.  And while I could sit here and delve deeper into that "savoring", I'm choosing to focus on the men who populate the book.  As that's where most of my attention and captivity found itself.  So these are my thoughts on their roles and what moved me about them.  Otherwise, I could be here all day posting about this hyper immersing read.

WARNING: There may be spoilers, so read at your own risk!

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